Let’s get ready for early indyref2, says SNP MSP James Dornan

James Dornan says Nicola Sturgeon's push for early independence poll has not cost the party votes. Photograph: John Devlin
James Dornan says Nicola Sturgeon's push for early independence poll has not cost the party votes. Photograph: John Devlin
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SNP deputy leadership candidate James Dornan said Scotland could vote for independence next year as he pledged to get the party ready for it in his pitch for the job.

Speaking to Scotland on Sunday, the Glasgow Cathcart MSP said a Yes vote in indyref2 could be achieved as soon as 2019 or 2020.

“Circumstances are changing almost every day. It has to be at a time from the SNP viewpoint when it is of maximum benefit for us and when that will be will be close to the [Scottish] election time, maybe 2019/2020 would be my guess. Politics have never been more volatile than they have over the last few years.”

Dornan said driving the party towards achieving independence would be “crucial” to his campaign to replace Angus Robertson as the SNP’s deputy leader.

His enthusiasm for a quick second referendum comes despite many criticising Nicola Sturgeon’s decision to react to Brexit by putting another independence vote on the table. Sturgeon’s indyref2 strategy was seen as a key factor in the SNP’s poor performance in last year’s snap General Election.

Dornan, however, rejected that analysis, saying he was “not convinced” that plans for another referendum were to blame for the SNP losing 21 Westminster seats.

“I know people have equated that [a second referendum] with the 2017 result,” Dornan said. “I’m not so convinced. In 2017 there was clearly a co-ordinated arrangement – maybe unofficial – to get Alex [Salmond] out, get Angus [Robertson] out.”

Sturgeon was also criticised for overlooking the views of one million Scots who voted to Leave. But Dornan did not think the attitude of Leave voters would stand in the way of the fight for independence.

He said: “They talk about a third of our party voting to Leave, but I would bet you that having seen the burach (mess) – as Alex (Salmond) was fond of saying – they will be reconsidering their views on Brexit.”

Dornan said he would be campaigning to represent the SNP’s “authentic working- class voices”. With previous deputies having been Westminster-based, he said the next should come from Holyrood because the SNP should recognise the Scottish Parliament as the primary parliament.

Scottish Conservative MP John Lamont said:“You’d think after recent election results the SNP would understand that Scots are fed up with them pushing for another independence referendum.”